Category Archives: Newsletter | March 2016

KUAF Community Spotlight

IMG_1705 (2)To help paint the picture of the foster care system and the unique needs of the brave children we serve, we reached out to our community partners, clients, and advocates for interviews. There will be 20 unique episodes (each 3 minutes in length) that will be aired 6 times a weekday during NPR’s Morning Edition, KUAF’s Ozarks at Large, and NPR’s All Things Considered. If you miss an episode, you can catch up by visiting the archive.


A special thanks to all of our radio guests, KUAF, and the incredible Pete Hartman for championing our cause and giving CASA a voice!

Fashion with a Focus

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Angela Terrazas, of Ink & Thread Creations, wanted to do more. Having been a donor of CASA of Northwest Arkansas for years, she asked her husband what else they could do to support the abused and neglected children of our community. A few months later, Angela and her company are now selling “I am for the child” t-shirts!



Available at her storefront Bellis Boutique in Springdale, the shirts retail for $24 plus tax. For each shirt, a $10 donation will be made back to CASA of Northwest Arkansas. In addition to being a great fundraiser for CASA, each shirt provides an excellent opportunity to educate our community about CASA’s mission and our need for more advocates.

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  Thank you to Angela and her husband Cesar for providing this wonderful opportunity to CASA!  To make your statement, visit Bellis Boutique in-person at 1800 Wagon Wheel Road in Springdale.  Or check out the boutique on Facebook.

CASA of NWA Pilots New Training Program

IMG_6334If you are an advocate or have considered becoming one, you have crossed paths with Ms. Arbor Buchanan. Arbor, our in-house Training Specialist, has been a member of the CASA of NWA family since 2004. Given her long history with CASA and extensive training experience, Arbor was selected to serve on the National Curriculum Development Committee. Formed by the National CASA Association, the committee brings nationwide experts together to redesign the in-person, new advocate training program. The last time it had been revised was 2007.



After two years and hundreds of hours of committee service, National CASA finally released a pilot of the new training program. Due to her valuable contributions on the committee, Arbor and our CASA chapter were selected as one of 10 pilot sites around the country. In March, the training launched locally for four new advocates. After each of the 3 hour sessions, all of the participants are asked to complete evaluations that will assist the committee in fine tuning the modules. To strengthen the feedback, we invited a few seasoned advocates to train alongside the rookies.


When asked how the new training compares to her first training experience with CASA, current advocate Monica van Oudheusden shared, Both training programs offer an abundance of information. Arbor does an incredible job getting volunteers ready to serve the children in our communities. A notable positive difference in the pilot training program is that she covers CASA report writing sooner. Another positive aspect to this pilot program is there’s not much homework; we are instead working through the information together in our classes and with Arbor. I’m enjoying this much better as I prefer the instant feedback/answering of questions versus having to wait until the next class meeting to discuss and question.”


If all goes well, this updated, in-person training program will become a part of nearly 1,000 CASA chapters across the country in fall 2016. Congratulations to Arbor and the rest of the CDC for their incredible efforts which will improve advocate training experiences for thousands of volunteers every year.

In Good Company Title Sponsor: General Mills

GM Light of Hope AdCommitted to nourishing lives and communities, General Mills embraces philanthropy throughout their business model. There are few lives in Northwest Arkansas that haven’t been touched by the generosity and hard work of the General Mills team. For CASA of Northwest Arkansas specifically, we have been blessed to have their support since 2007 when General Mills first came on-board to sponsor our Playhouse Palooza event. Now, nearly a decade later, they provide financial support, volunteers, in-kind donations, and media opportunities to further CASA’s vision to serve every foster child in need by 2020.

Regarding our partnership, Director of Sales Mary Zettle stated “General Mills is thrilled to support CASA of Northwest Arkansas. CASA’s mission of supporting abused and neglected children fits well with our company’s pursuits of Treat the World with Care and Put People First. We are also proud of our colleagues who have invested personal time as trained CASA advocates through our partnership. We look forward to continuing to support the team at CASA and the advocates as they strive to make a difference in our local community.”

Like we said, commitment.  Thank you so much, General Mills, for being for the child!

Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Cudney

Linda Cudney

When you meet CASA advocate Linda Cudney, it is hard not to be inspired. She describes herself as a wife and mother, but her list of vocations, experience, and education goes on and on. Linda first heard of CASA from the Dr. Phil show while she was still working as a teacher. When she retired, she knew she would do something with children and tried out a few volunteer opportunities. After attending CASA’s Light of Hope luncheon, she knew her time to serve as an advocate had finally come.

On April 2, 2014, Linda took her first case. With five children in the family, it’s a fairly unusual case for a rookie advocate. To be fair, she started the case with a partner and based on preliminary information, it looked like the case would close quickly. But, more than 1,000 hours of service later, her work is far from over.

The challenges to this case are many, and the days have been long. But, when she’s disappointed with an outcome or court decision, she schedules a home visit to see her CASA kids. Once she sees their smiles and gets their hugs, she can refocus on what needs to be done and why she’s there. She embraces their joy and fun-loving personalities right along with their frustrations and anger.

The thing that surprised Linda about serving as an advocate was how quickly the children turn from feelings of despair to feelings of joy and hope when they have the opportunity to be connected with a team of compassionate adults that consistently show they care. She is proud to be a part of that team and serves collaboratively with CASA staff, DHS caseworkers, foster parents/custodians, and various medical and educational teams.

Given the complexity of the case, it would easy for anyone to get overwhelmed. When we asked Linda why she stays, it was an easy answer for her, “the great children I serve deserve a better future.” Between the five children, they have had 60 different placements over the last two years. When she calls new foster parents and introduces herself, Linda is no longer surprised that they are expecting her call. It turns out, when the kids land in a new home or facility, they ask their new guardian when Ms. Linda is coming.  And, if the guardian doesn’t know, the children answer, “Soon.  She’ll be here in a couple of days”.  In a world of uncertainty, these children can always count on Ms. Linda. What a legacy to leave in the hearts of these children.